Major Spoilers Ahead For Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 brings the long-awaited conclusion to the team’s first chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This time, as the space-faring team of heroes strives to do good in the galaxy, they are confronted by the evil High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji), who threatens to bring about the end of the Guardians forever.
This third and final installment in the trilogy takes place over ten years after the events of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which occurred in 2014. As such, each of the Guardians has changed drastically since their last solo adventure, setting them up for their arc in the big finale.
When audiences first met Pom Klementieff’s Mantis in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, she was the obedient servant of Ego the Living Planet. Resistant to thinking for herself, Mantis did whatever Ego asked of her. Once she defected to the Guardians of the Galaxy, she did also whatever they asked of her, falling into a rut.
The events of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special opened Mantis’s eyes to what she really wants from life. Finally finding a family that will support her no matter what, Mantis is not only capable but also eager to find herself in her continuing journeys and, should she ever return, could even emerge as the Guardians of the Galaxy’s next leader.
7 Kraglin Obfonteri
Sean Gunn’s Kraglin Obfonteri has changed immensely since appearing in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. The character was once a Ravager, jumping from planet to planet to steal and kill as his captain saw fit. While he was never one of the more ruthless Ravagers, there is little evidence that Kraglin was a particularly good person before joining the Guardians.
In the time since Vol. 2, Kraglin has become a full-fledged member of the Guardians of the Galaxy, leading him to embrace his heroic qualities that had always been hiding under his tough Ravager veneer. Moreover, Kraglin has learned to embrace his softer side, which always had to be repressed as a Ravager, allowing him to more fully open up to his newfound family.
Groot’s physical transformation in between the latest two Guardians of the Galaxy movies is immense. The second installment of the trilogy depicted the creature from Planet X in his infant years, not yet attuned to the violent lifestyle that his compatriots lead.
Groot’s latest MCU appearances have shown him slowly growing into his adult body and, while he remains generally one of the MCU’s happiest characters, he has developed a capability for fighting that his Vol. 2 iteration simply didn’t possess. By the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Groot has finally reached his full potential, growing into a massive beast that makes him a truly terrifying sight to behold.
Karen Gillan’s Nebula has undergone massive character growth since the previous Guardians movie. In the 2017 film, Nebula made peace with the Guardians but was still a somewhat antagonistic force who would quickly deny any accusations of heroism on her part. This, however, has changed drastically in the six years since Vol. 2 came out.
As a result of her adventures in the last two Avengers movies, Nebula has fully embraced her heroic side, devoting her time and energy to helping the refugees on Knowhere craft new lives for themselves. She has even grown to become one of the Guardians’ most respected leaders, having finally found her place in the vast and often cruel galaxy.
Zoe Saldaña returns in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, but she portrays a very different version of Gamora than the one seen in the previous two installments of the franchise. The original Gamora was killed during the events of Avengers: Infinity War, leaving an alternate timeline version of herself to continue her adventures in the MCU’s Multiverse Saga.
The new Gamora has become one of Marvel’s best-written female characters, whose storyline isn’t contingent on her relationship with Star-Lord or even the other Guardians. As it turns out, the new Gamora doesn’t belong with the Guardians of the Galaxy at all, but rather with the Ravagers, who have accepted her as an integral part of their own family.
Drax the Destroyer, played by Dave Bautista, usually remains joyfully devoid of change over the years. Drax, after all, is a simple creature who seems to be quite happy with who he is. By the time audiences catch up with Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, he is still pretty much the same person that he was in Vol. 2.
While Dave Bautista’s character hasn’t changed all that much since his last appearance, he does undergo some interesting character development during the events of Vol. 3. Drax, once responsible for some of the MCU’s funniest jokes, receives a more emotional ending, as he accepts the role of father figure to a group of refugee children. This ending allows Drax to finally become what he was always meant to be: a dad.
Peter Quill, a.k.a. Star-Lord, ended his arc in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in a very good place, having finally come to terms with who he is as a person and where he belongs in the galaxy. Fully embracing his place as the captain of the Guardians, Quill endeavored to honor the best parts of the people who raised him in order to help their legacy live on.
Unfortunately, Chris Pratt’s space-faring hero was put through the wringer in between Vol. 2 and Vol. 3. After losing Gamora and being responsible for the deaths of trillions, Quill has slipped into excessive drinking by the time audiences catch up with him. Despite receiving some good news in learning that Mantis was his half-sister, it seems as though the weight of life has finally gotten to Quill by the beginning of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
1 Rocket Raccoon
Rocket Raccoon has had one of the most interesting arcs in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. When Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 came to a close, he had finally allowed himself to grow attached to the other Guardians, becoming a full-fledged member of the team. No longer afraid to put down roots, Rocket seemed to be on a bright path.
In the time since Vol. 2, however, Rocket was forced to live in a world without the other Guardians after Thanos wiped out half the universe. Having finally gotten his family back, Rocket has only grown more adamant about keeping his loved ones safe. While he continues to wrestle with demons from his past, Rocket is now fully committed to protecting the other Guardians with his very life, as Vol. 3 so readily displays.
NEXT: 10 Guardians of the Galaxy Actors Who Should Join James Gunn’s DCU (& Who They Should Play)
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